Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Fork in the Road - Part Two

Ziya recalled her hour-long ride in the taxi and how uncomfortable she had felt throughout the journey.  Not only was the city unfamiliar and the hour late, but her taxi driver’s ideal chatter had amplified her fear, sending a chill down her spine to the match the chilly temperature outside.  Their conversation had started easily with cordial inquiries.  Ziya had responded to his questions that she was in town on work and her company was an international corporation and she was originally from the other side of the globe.  He had then proceeded to release with his tongue all his resentments towards the world with the lack of job opportunities, poverty, religious clash in his home country, how he had moved his family to such a cold place, and many such bitter pills he had swallowed over the years.  Even the company she worked for refused to give him a job when he first arrived.  Ziya had sunk back in her seat and tried to disengage from further conversation, fearing unleashing of any of the resentment towards her.  The rest of the ride had continued in silence as she dissolved in the shadow of the backseat.

Looking back at the man handing her a card, which appeared to belong to her, she looked up at him again.  A glimmer of recognition crossed her face as she realized it was the very taxi driver she had feared and had ridden with for an hour from the airport.  He was speaking to her and she crooked her head to one side quizzically.  His arm moved forward to thrust the card in her hand as he tried to say in his broken English that she had forgotten to claim the card back after making the payment.

She took the card and murmured a thanks, not realizing the implication until later.  What if he had not come in to return it?  This was her first trip on the company account and losing the corporate card in its first use would not only be embarrassing, but costly too, depending on whose hands it could have landed.

Ziya shoved the card into her coat pocket, pulled the lapels of her long coat together with hands fully covered with red, leather gloves, grabbed her baggage and walked towards the check-in desk.  Smiling, she took her room key, deliberated outside the Irish Pub for a few seconds, but decided to turn in for the night.  There’ll be plenty more nights for beer over the 10 days she was required to stay in this cold place.

To be continued

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Fork in the Road - Part One

Ziya walked to the center of the grand lobby, wheeling her carryon behind her.  She looked up at the high ceiling and the massive chandelier dominating the center, its tiny bulbs winking at her.  She scanned the open space around, twirling on the red and yellow rug patterned in geometric shapes.  A restaurant and a bar anchored each corner of the entrance as they faced each other with their respective welcome signs.  The restaurant posted a closed sign on a stand, but the bar beckoned patrons for a late night beer, shamrock style.  Ziya searched for the check-in desk straight ahead of her, but before she could march towards it she heard a commotion behind her at the entrance.

A young man seemed stuck between two glass panes in a revolving door.  His fingerless gloves pressed hard on the door, palms flat, bare tips of his fingers rough on the edges.  Ziya noticed an lone yarn of beige wool peeking through the broken zipper of his brown, quilted jacket, as if trying to escape to the world outside.  Her gaze travelled up to his unshaven face where she observed flushed cheeks emerging through the dark forest of hair.  The woolen skull cap resting on thick, dark hair looked familiar, but she couldn’t recall meeting this man.

Freeing himself from the troublesome doors, he seemed to rush towards her.  Behind him, she spotted the doorman discretely stepping in, his eyes locked on the intruder.  Her attention returned to the man who was standing right in front of her, and she noticed he was extending his arm out to her.  Between coarse fingers that didn’t seem to want the protection of his wool gloves, he held a card.  Looking closely she noticed it had her picture on it and wasn’t it the same corporate card she had used to pay the taxi driver moments ago?

To be continued

Monday, May 13, 2013


 I remember her as old
she wasn’t always that way, I am told
the mix of beauty and mettle she possessed
she was a legend long before her own death.
Child-bride at nine leaving her parents at eleven
a new family, adult husband, her life was not heaven
crossing rugged boundaries, bearing fourteen children
losing one in childhood, another at twenty seven.
In times of struggle, earthquake, and strife,
she held her head high as mother and wife
protecting her brood, holding on to her belief
that family is foremost, during war or in time of relief.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Help! - Conclusion

While the assistant started the process of getting Robbie on an I.V., the doctor was called to his office to attend to a phone call.  A woman’s voice pierced through the earphone, illegible and confused.  The doctor calmed her and after listening to the problem he rushed to her house.

Aari, the woman’s husband lay flat on the ground by the door of his house, unconscious.  The doctor had arrived just in time to resuscitate him, but his clinic was not equipped for further treatment.  While the doctor pondered on his new patient’s dilemma, he received an anxious call from his clinic.  Apparently, they had run out of their stock of I.V. fluids and the boy remained delirious on the exam table.  To add to the doctor’s dilemma, the assistant informed him of another patient who had been brought in with possible blood poisoning.
Lena’s minor incident on the beach had turned out to be life threatening.  Her foot had swollen and turned blue, purple and several shades in between under the bandages her husband had applied.  She had started to become delirious as well, babbling about a rusted piece of metal, rocks, waves, germs, tetanus shot,…
The doctor returned to the clinic with Aari on a stretcher and worked hard to keep his patients comfortable and alive.  But he knew that all three needed to get treatment in a hospital in the mainland if they were to survive the night.  The problem was that the only airport on the island had no lights so the patients could not be flown out until the morning.  And that will be too late.
The assistant empathized with the patients and their families, understood the doctor’s dilemma, but remained equally helpless.  When the phone rang as he was pondering on a way to help these patients, he absently answered.  It was his brother and the assistant blurted out the predicament at the clinic without giving his brother a chance to say anything.  The brother hung up and immediately called up his friend at the radio station.  Soon the grave situation of the clinic was being broadcasted all over the island and the clinic was receiving calls on offers of help.  Yacht owners offered rides to the mainland and several other suggestions and offers of help poured in.  One idea appealed to the doctor and soon all were in motion.
The patients were prepared and rushed to the airport.  All the taxis of the island showed up at the airport one by one.  They lined up on the runway with their headlights blaring and provided a well-lit path for the plane to take off.
Lena, Robbie and Aari made it to the hospital in time and recovered completely.  The island had come together as a family does to support, and do what must be done to take care of their own.  They had found a way to make possible that had seemed impossible.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Help! - Part Two

As the tempest roared outside, Lena struggled to the sofa and collapsed.   About the same time her husband was rushing to her side, a sharp cry had escaped a cottage on the other side of the island.  Robbie lay in his bed delirious as his 7-year old body shook uncontrollably.  His parents torn between trying to keep his shivering body warm under layers of blankets or to keep his forehead cool to bring down his temperature.

The storm raging outside tried to enter the cottage as it rattled open windows, sprayed rain water onto furniture, or offered a luminous show with intermittent lightning flashes.  Little Robbie babbled illegibly, rambled about missing his soccer practice, recalling the time he ventured into a dark forest.  His parents had exhausted their list of home remedies and stood watching him, helpless.  They had applied cold towels on his forehead, placed a brandy-dipped cotton swab on his belly, rubbed ice on the soles of his feet, and other countless treatments.  But the fever rose with the crescendo of the booming thunder as the darkest clouds passed overhead, until all became silent.

Under his wife’s protests, Robbie’s father grabbed the boy, wrapped him up in blankets, and ran outdoors.  The tail end of the storm left now, sprinkled water from the sky forming a wet mist on the father’s dark hair.  He flagged down a taxi and panic-stricken, commanded the driver to rush to the island’s only clinic.
The doctor, dressed in hurriedly draped bathrobe over his pajamas and disheveled hair peered through his dark rimmed glasses at the boy on his exam table.  Thermometer in hand, he shook his head and declared that the boy needed fluids and an I.V. must be started on him at once.

To be continued...